Shepherd Dogs as Workmates
The shepherd dogs are important work mates in the daily work of Rantakorpi. The handling and moving around of sheep and cattle is easy – and fun- with dogs. These smart dogs quickly learn what’s expected of them in daily routines. In the winter season the dogs keep the sheep at the other end of the stall to make the spreading of dry hay on the floor easier, eliminating the need to wade through a mass of sheep that refuses to move, expecting scratches and pats! The dogs can also move the sheep to an outer pen to stretch their legs and help with separating them when a part of them needs to be taken aside and moved to another location. In the grazing season – from May to late Autumn – the dogs help with moving the sheep around from pasture section to section and fetch them for check-ups and general handling. The dogs can also keep the flock together when needed. In the lambing season the dogs might also help with keeping the butts of bottle-fed lambs clean!
The Farm’s Dogs and their Breeding
The farm has two working-line border collies. Felltop Fanny aka Fani moved here when she was four, already trained and graduated from the basic shepherding training course. Fani has been a true piece of gold, such a help and joy she has been in daily tasks. This dog with a wonderful personality and fine structure has also gifted us with three lots of puppies. From the first litter we kept Ruska, with whom Johanna has learned how to train a shepherd dog, opening a whole new fascinating world.
In total Fani has 18 puppies that bring joy to many households and help with keeping sheep flocks in order. Now Fani is on well-deserved pension days from mothering and only meets up with the children that visit us here. The father of all Fani’s pups is the dashing, red-coated Bordeliz Sune, who is a double Finnish champion in shepherding and has represented Finland on the national team on multiple occasions. Fani’s last litter was assigned the kennel name ”of Rantakorpi”. The puppies have turned out to be social, balanced dogs, who have become beloved family members and buddies in work and hobbies. Many of the owners come to train their dogs at the Rantakorpi farm, so we still get to enjoy the puppies! The greatest enjoyment was, after all, the early puppy age – once the ”rascal stage” began they moved on to new owners =D
Ruska will follow in the footsteps of her mother, perhaps even getting a taste of motherhood this summer. She has been mated with an excellent shepherd Felltop Bob in March 2022!
Shepherding Dog Training
We organize our own training days with other dogs and occasionally invite a professional over to hold a training day. The sheep and dogs know each other’s tricks and also quickly learn, what goes on in the training. As such it’s the dog owners who get the most training in understanding what’s going on and how they’re supposed to act =D The basic idea is that the dogs guide the sheep to a desired location, with everything happening in a calm and orderly fashion. It’s necessary to know what the sheep are doing and what they aim to do next; what the dog is doing, when it’s okay to give them orders, when to encourage, and when to let them act on their own instinct; to know what position your own body and gaze and hands and movement is… Occasionally everything gets totally tangled up and you just wonder how a dog can be so skilful 😊 You NEVER master everything, and that’s how it is with all hobbies and skills. The more you know, the more you know how little you know!
On the Rantakorpi farm, Finnish sheep and Eastern Finnish cattle are raised on a small scale. The farm offers horseback riding trips, experiences with farm animals and sheep products.
The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development has supported the construction of this website
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